It’s been a while since we’ve reported on the honeybees that live on the roof of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been as busy—really, really busy.
All that hard work has paid off and it’s official: COC bees produce the best honey!
Fred Davis, beekeeper to the hundreds of thousands of bees who live on our roof, entered this season’s harvest into the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair amber honey competition this year. The honey took first prize, with a score of 96 points out of a possible 100!
Congratulations to Fred, his volunteer assistant Vivien, and the many, many COC honeybees who worked their fuzzy behinds off all year.
Here’s the story in Fred’s words:
The bees at the COC produce a beautiful amber honey. So my enthusiastic and very eager beekeeping volunteer, Vivien (a real "newbee") encouraged me to enter the honey into the competition and I decided to enter this year's harvest in the amber category. (Other colour categories are white, golden and dark).
We learned that the Royal Winter Fair's judges scored each honey category based on 10 criteria; originally I thought the judges based the winner on flavour alone. I was reluctant at first to submit the honey because I expected that all of the entrants would be old hands at the competition circuit and have their own secret way to filter and present their honey. I truly thought that I would receive an "atta boy" e-mail from the judges. It was quite stressful trying to make the honey as clear as possible, as I am very reluctant to take anything away from the raw honey.
But, in the end, the most gratifying part of this experience for me was knowing that natural, unprocessed honey from downtown Toronto was the best according to the judges at the Royal Winter Fair, and how lucky I am to have a partner in the COC and the Four Seasons Centre where the honeybees can flourish!
The bees have been all wrapped up and fed for the winter, and are having a well-deserved rest. I have been peeking in on them from time to time and dream of opening up a healthy hive this spring.
P.S. My winning secret was to simply pass the honey once through a sieve and then once through cheesecloth. Very high tech!
Thanks Fred! You can read previous posts on our honeybees by clicking on the “FSCPA Honeybees” tag in the right-hand column. You can also purchase honey made by the COC honeybees at the main bar at the Four Seasons Centre during performances of the COC and the National Ballet of Canada.
Photos courtesy of Fred Davis
Posted by COC Staff / in FSCPA Honeybees / comments (0) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001